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2 Italy’s Competitiveness According to UNCTAD/WTO’s Trade Performance Index

2 Italy’s Competitiveness According to UNCTAD/WTO’s Trade Performance Index

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6



M. Fortis et al.



world market; (4) product diversification (No. of equivalent products); (5) market

diversification (No. of equivalent markets) (ITC 2015). Thus the TPI takes into

account not only the absolute value of trade, but also the size of the various

countries and their specializations, as well as weaknesses deriving from excessive

concentration of exports in a few products or a few target markets.

Table 1.1 summarizes each G-20 country’s position in the first 10 places in the

world classification of competitiveness of foreign trade in the 14 sectors that make



Table 1.1 Ranking of international competitiveness (189 countries): Trade Performance Index

UNCTAD/WTO (2014)

Number of positions

Best



Second



1



Germany



8



1



Third



Fourth



Fifth



Sixth



Seventh



Eighth



Ninth



2



ITALY



3



5



3



Russia



1



4



China



2



1



5



France



1



1



5



Australia



1



6



Turkey



1



7



South

Korea



1



8



Japan



1



9



United

States



1



10



South

Africa



1



11



India



1



11



Canada



1



12



Brazil



1



12



Saudi

Arabia



1



13



Indonesia



2



14



Argentina



1



15



United

Kingdom



15



Mexico



Tenth



1

1



1



1



1



1

1



1

1



2



1

2



1

1



1

1

1



Current index; sum of 5 sub-indexes: net exports, per capita exports, share in world market, product

diversification, market diversification

Number of top 10 placings in the world rankings of foreign trade competitiveness in 14 sectors: Fresh food,

Processed food, Wood products, Textiles, Chemicals, Leather products, Basic manufactures, Non-electronic

machinery, IT and Consumer electronics, Electronic components, Transport equipment, Clothing,

Miscellaneous manufacturing, Minerals

Source Compiled by Fondazione Edison using data from International Trade Centre UNCTAD/WTO



1 Italy’s Top Products in World Trade …



7



up the TPI. The results of the TPI show Germany’s absolute leadership in international trade; in 2014 it won 8 first places and 1 second places for competitiveness

out of the total of 14 macro-sectors analyzed. Nevertheless, Italy also proved to be

very competitive, coming in first 3 times in the UNCTAD/WTO ranking: in textiles,

clothing and leather products. What’s more, Italy also came in second 5 times: in

non-electronic machinery (where it competes almost on equal terms with Germany),

transport equipment, electric and electronic components, miscellaneous manufacturing (mainly sunglasses and jewelry) and in basic manufactures (which includes

sectors such as metal products, marble and ceramic tiles, where Italy is among the

top producers in the world) (Fortis 2008b, 2014, 2015). Italy reached the second

position in transport equipment and electronic components. Finally, in 2014, while

the three best rankings and five second places were maintained, Italy also improved

its ranking in processed food (which includes wine) (Said 2015), going from 7th to

6th place (Fortis 2016). These 9 macro-sectors alone, in which Italy led worldwide

in 2014, generated a total of 390.2 billion dollars of exports and a trade surplus of

154.5 billion dollars (Table 1.2).

In particular, among the G-6 countries, China and South Korea, Italy is the

country that, along with Germany, holds the highest number of placements

worldwide (Table 1.3).



Table 1.2 Italy’s competitiveness according to the Trade Performance Index UNCTAD/WTO

(2014)

Sectors



Position of

Italy



Italy’s exports

(billion $)



Italy’s trade balance

(billion $)



Clothing

1

24.7

7.6

Leather products

1

25.3

12.4

Textiles

1

13.9

4.9

Non-electronic

2

108.3

72.1

machinery

Transport equipment

2

47.7

8.4

Basic manufactures

2

63.3

17.7

Miscellaneous

2

50.2

20.9

manufacturing

Electronic components

2

23.7

4.6

Processed food

6

33.2

6.0

Total 9 best sectors

390.2

154.5

Source Compiled by Fondazione Edison using data from International Trade Centre,

UNCTAD/WTO



8



M. Fortis et al.



Table 1.3 Positions of G-6 countries, China and South Korea in the ranking of competitiveness

of the Trade Performance Index UNCTAD/WTO (2014)

Countries

Sectors



Germany



Italy



China



South

Korea



Japan



France



United

States



United

Kingdom



Fresh food

25

33

49

82

97

25

5

42

Processed food

1

6

20

70

86

3

39

42

Wood and paper

1

25

36

44

54

30

33

36

Textiles

2

1

2

9

38

20

36

23

Leather products 15

1

3

41

68

18

39

21

Clothing

18

1

2

50

87

14

47

20

Chemicals

1

28

25

7

8

2

20

34

Basic

1

2

4

6

8

27

48

29

manufactures

Non-electronic

1

2

5

10

12

11

25

14

machinery

Electronic

1

2

34

17

5

21

30

23

components

IT and Consumer 11

24

6

7

41

21

25

18

electronics

Transport

1

2

27

3

13

16

33

31

equipment

Miscellaneous

1

2

9

42

10

25

27

28

manufacturing

Minerals

30

46

76

62

84

25

18

32

Ranking in each sector worldwide

In bold the placements among the top 10 most competitive countries

Source Compiled by Fondazione Edison using data from International Trade Centre

UNCTAD/WTO



1.3

1.3.1



The Fortis-Corradini Index (FCI)—Fondazione

Edison

The 2012 Fortis-Corradini Index



Italy’s strong position in international trade is also reflected in the Fortis-Corradini

Index (FCI) of competitive excellence in international trade. This indicator, with a

special algorithm developed by the authors in 2010, measures instantaneously and

with a high level of detail the number of products in which each country is first,

second or third in terms of its trade balance on a world level (Fortis and Corradini

2010). According to this index, in 2012 Italy had nearly 1000 products (932 to be

exact) in which it placed in the first three positions in terms of foreign trade surplus

(Table 1.4).

The FCI is based on information from the UN’s database on international trade

(UN Comtrade 2015) and other sources such as Eurostat (2015) and Istat (2015)



1 Italy’s Top Products in World Trade …



9



Table 1.4 Products in which Italy holds the top spots in the world trade balance: year 2012

Italy’s positioning in the world trade

balance



Number of

products



Trade balance of products

(billion $)



First

235

56

Second

376

68

Third

321

53

Total

932

177

Index of Italy’s competitive excellence in world trade; Fortis-Corradini’s Index © (case study of a

total sample of 5117 products that comprise international trade)

Source Compiled by Fondazione Edison using data Istat, Eurostat and UN Comtrade



and is based on 5117 products from the 6 digit breakdown of the HS 1996 classification. The data presented here are from 2012.

In 2012 Italy was second only to Germany in terms of the total number of first,

second and third places in the worldwide trade balance of products for every

100,000 inhabitants, ahead of South Korea and France (Fig. 1.2). In absolute terms,

on the other hand, Italy was first place worldwide for 235 products by trade balance

(the total value of the balance of these goods: 56 billion dollars), second place in

376 products (68 billion dollars) and third place for 321 products (53 billion dollars). The total: 932 positions of excellence, especially for high value added “niche”

products, for a total trade surplus value of 177 billion dollars.



1.8

1.64

1.57



1.6

1.4

1.2

1.0

0.8



0.68



0.63



0.63



0.63

0.55



0.6



0.51



0.4

0.2

0.0

Germany



ITALY



South Korea



France



Japan



Canada



Australia



United

Kingdom



Fig. 1.2 First, second or third place in terms of trade balance, per every 100,000 inhabitants, for

each of the G-20 countries (out of a total of 5117 products). Source Processed by Fondazione

Edison using data from Istat, Eurostat, and UN Comtrade



10



M. Fortis et al.



Only 3 countries (China, Germany and the United States), with population and

economy by far larger, performed better than Italy in 2012 in terms of the number

of first, second and third places in the trade balance of products worldwide, and

only 5 countries (the 3 ones previously mentioned plus Japan and South Korea)

registered total values of trade surpluses higher than Italy’s for the goods in which

they are among the first three countries by trade surplus (excluding crude oil and

natural gas). “Made in Italy’s” excellence is rounded out with 500 other products in

which Italy in 2012 came in fourth or fifth in terms of its worldwide trade balance;

these products added another 40 billion dollars to Italy’s trade balance surplus.

The strength of “made in Italy” derives from the extensive diversification of its

specializations, driven mainly by the “4F” macro-sectors (Fashion and cosmetics;

Food and wine; Furniture and ceramic tiles; Fabricated metal products, machinery

and transport equipment), but also by other important sectors such as metallurgy

(see Chap. 3), paper and chemicals-pharmaceuticals (see Chap. 5).

Thousands of medium-large, medium and small enterprises are producing these

results and enabling Italy to compete with countries that have many more largescale, multinational groups, but which do not have Italian companies’ typical ability

to be flexible and handle hundreds of different types of products, a sort of customizing excellence. It is in this area that the winning factors of “made in Italy”

emerge, such as creativity, innovation, quality, design and a strong tradition of

“industrial craftsmanship”, in other words the ability to build customized products

for the clients, even in hi-tech sectors such as mechanical engineering or transportation vehicles.

Italy, like other countries, is suffering from the worst global crisis since 1929.

But it would be difficult for this crisis to destroy Italy’s ability to practice those

traditional and new “trades” that it does better than other countries and at which it

excels internationally.



1.3.2



Products in Which Italy Holds First Place

in the World by Trade Surplus



According to the FCI there are 235 products for which Italy in 2012 held first place

in the world by trade surplus. Italy’s trade balance for these 235 products was 55.7

billion dollars, divided up as follows (Fig. 1.3): 25.6 billion dollars in trade balance

was generated by goods in the mechanical engineering-rubber and plastic sectors;

18.4 billion dollars of goods in the sector of fashion and luxury; 7.3 billion dollars

of goods in the food and wine sector; 0.4 billion dollars of furniture and building

materials and finally 4 billion dollars of other products including goods in the paper

industry, glass and chemicals.

There are no sectors in which Italy did not hold a significant number of first

places in its trade balance in 2012. For space reasons in Table 1.5 we chose only a

few of the most significant products from each sector. Let us examine them briefly.



1 Italy’s Top Products in World Trade …



11



Fig. 1.3 Distribution of 55.7 billion dollars in trade balance generated by the 235 products for

which Italy is a world leader: year 2012. Source Processed by Fondazione Edison using data from

Istat, Eurostat, and UN Comtrade



Italy leads in a wide range of products from machines and technology for

agriculture and tobacco to food products and beverages (Italy leads worldwide in

the export of pasta, chocolate and other processed foods containing cocoa, tomato

derivatives, apples and salami and seasoned meats) to many types of food processing machines. Other Italian winners are fashion (with many textile-clothing

products, leather goods, shoes, jewelry, sunglasses, components for these sectors

and industrial machines to manufacture them).

Furthermore, Italy has many winners by global trade balance in the paper

products industry (from tissues to paper towels to paper bags), as well as metallurgical products (from iron and steel pipes to aluminum castings) and it also leads

in many important metallurgy technologies, heating, cooling, refrigeration and

furnace technologies (including commercial refrigeration equipment), as well as

machines for woodworking and processing of non-metallic minerals (such as

ornamental stones and ceramics). Italy is also first by trade balance for different

types of metal products, special hi-tech mechanical machinery (including packaging

machinery, metal-working and plastic material machinery). It also holds first place

by trade balance for transport equipment, precision and safety products (such as

helicopters, insulated copper wires and safety glass for vehicles and parts for

security and control equipment), as well as sports and entertainment goods (such as

hunting rifles, ski boots and snow-surfing footwear).

Italy also has numerous internationally top positions by trade surplus in rubber

and plastic articles such as could not fail in the country that invented polypropylene

by Italian Nobel prize winner Giulio Natta. Among these, the records in trade



12



M. Fortis et al.



Table 1.5 The products in which Italy holds the top spots in its trade balance with foreign

countries: selection of some significant cases for each product category: year 2012

Categories and products

Technologies of agriculture and tobacco

Machinery for preparing or making up tobacco

Parts for soil preparation or cultivation machinery

Rollers, soil preparation, cultivation machinery, nes

Dairy machinery

Food products

Uncooked pasta, not stuffed or prepared, without eggs

Chocolate/cocoa food preparations nes

Tomatoes, whole/pieces, prepared/preserved, no vinegar

Apples, fresh

Swine meat, salted/dried/smoked not ham/shoulder/belly

Stuffed pasta

Beverages and condiments

Vinegar and substitutes for vinegar from acetic acid

Vermouth and other flavoured grape wines—pack <2 l

Technologies of food, beverages and tobacco

Bakery and pasta making machinery

Automatic beverage-vending machines: incorporating heating or

refrigerating devices

Machinery for preparation of fruits, nuts, vegetables

Bakery ovens, etc. non-electric

Presses, crushers etc. for wine, fruit juice, beverages

Textiles and clothing

Woven fabric, >85 % combed wool or fine hair, <300 g/m2

Womens, girls ensembles, material nes, not knit

Womens, girls dresses, of material nes, not knit

Woven fabric, >85 % combed wool or fine hair, >300 g/m2

Woven fabric of silk, nes

Fashion accessories

Shoes and boots, with outer soles and uppers of leather

Leather and tanned skins of each type

Handbags with outer surface of leather

Sunglasses

Belts and bandoliers of leather or composition leather

Frames and mountings for spectacles etc., of plastic

Watch straps etc. and parts, of/clad with precious metal

Watch cases of, or clad with, precious metal



Trade balance

(million $)

314

261

172

57

1853

1007

998

910

632

377

263

204

708

181

120

114

79

581

517

367

146

72

3271

2671

2536

1828

367

329

234

123

(continued)



1 Italy’s Top Products in World Trade …



13



Table 1.5 (continued)

Categories and products

Technologies and components of fashion

Parts of footwear nes, gaiters and leggings etc.

Clasps/buckles, etc. for clothing, footwear, bags etc.

Machines and parts of machines for the industry of leather and footwear

Circular knitting machines, diameter <165 mm

Synthetic organic tanning substances. Finishing agents and dye carriers

for textile industry

Products for home

Wallpaper and similar wall coverings, nes

Materials and mechanical products for the construction industry

Door closures, automatic, of base metal

Valves, pressure reducing

Worked calcareous stone nes

Paper and its technologies

Machinery for making up pulp, paper, paperboard nes

Paper handkerchiefs, cleansing, facial tissues, towels

Sacks and bags, of paper, having a width >40 cm

Metallurgy

3 different types of pipes and hollow profiles of iron, steel and special

steels

11 different types of rods, profiles and wire, of iron and non-alloy steel

and semi-finished products, flat products, bars and rods of stainless steel

Technologies of metallurgy and metalworking

Parts of metal rolling mills and rolls

Boring-milling machines num controlled for metal

Calendering or rolling machines, not. for metals/glass

Tube mills, metal rolling

Way-type unit head machines, metal working

Metal products

Articles, iron or steel nes, forged/stamped, nfw

Expanded metal, i/nas <3 mm wire, <100 cm mesh

Copper screws, bolts or nuts except wood screws

Heating, cooling, refrigeration and furnace technologies and products

Refrigerator/Freezer chests/cabinets/showcases

Commercial equipment, hot drinks/cooking/heating food

Industrial furnace, oven, incinerator non-electric nes

Furnace burners for liquid fuel

Special machines for wood and non-metallic mineral products

Grinding or polishing machines for working stone, ceramics, concrete or

similar mineral materials or for cold working glass

Machine tools for wood, cork or hard plastic, etc. nes



Trade balance

(million $)

327

271

213

150

147



74

228

225

77

495

422

148

3139

1780



634

264

167

90

28

722

44

38

852

747

166

92

794

469

(continued)



14



M. Fortis et al.



Table 1.5 (continued)

Categories and products



Trade balance

(million $)



Drilling or morticing machines for wood, etc.

190

Grinding, sanding, polishing machines for wood, etc.

58

Mechanics hi-tech

Packing or wrapping machinery nes

2403

Pumps nes

969

2 different types of machines for the processing of metals to

310

deformation; machines for bending, folding, straightening, flattening not

numerically controlled, shears different from those not combined

punching and shearing machines, not numerically controlled.

Rubber or plastic moulding and forming machines nes

261

Machines for manufacturing or hot working glass or glassware: other

145

Transport equipment and other advanced technologies

Helicopters of an unladen weight >2000 kg

1362

Insulated winding wire of copper

570

Safety glass (tempered) for vehicles, aircraft, etc.

218

Machines for balancing mechanical parts, nes

125

Electric signal, safety and traffic controller parts

83

Goods for fun and sport

Shotguns, shotgun-rifles for sport, hunting or target

231

Ski-boots, cross-country, ski footwear and snowboard boots

116

Articles of plastics and rubber

Sheet/film not cellular/reinf polymers of propylene

627

Self-adhesive plastic, rolls <20 cm wide

561

Rubber tube, pipe, hose, metal reinforced, no fittings

208

Camel-back strips for retreading rubber tyres

45

Hard rubber (e.g. ebonite) in all forms, articles, scrap

40

Various food and industrial products

Play, fair-ground equipment, travelling circus, theatre

172

Beans, shelled, prepared/preserved, not frozen/vinegar

169

Chicory, fresh or chilled, except witloof

58

Buttons, nes

46

Other products

Domestic iron/steel solid fuel appliances, not cookers

264

Asphalt or similar material articles, in rolls

252

Corks, crown, of base metal

124

Built-in jacking systems for garages

119

Automatic vending machines

83

Source Compiled by Fondazione Edison using data from Istat, Eurostat and UN Comtrade



1 Italy’s Top Products in World Trade …



15



surplus of polypropylene plates, sheets, film and tape production. Some of Italy’s

more curious leading products by trade balance are merry-go-rounds, beans, buttons

and chicory, heaters and fireplaces, asphalt works, lifts for auto repair shops and

crown corks.

The individual products in which Italy leads internationally in terms of trade

balance value are presented in Table 1.6. The category footwear with natural leather

soles takes first place overall with 2.6 billion dollars of trade balance in 2012. This

is followed in value terms in the trade balance internationally by leather handbags

(2.5 billion), packing or wrapping machinery (2.4 billion), pasta (1.85 billion),

sunglasses (1.83 billion) and bovine or equine leather (1.7 billion). It is notable that

most of these leading products, like the case of footwear, are produced in regional

industrial clusters, that are a typical feature of the Italian economy (Fortis and

Quadrio Curzio 2006).

Table 1.6 The top 20 products in which Italy holds the first position in the world trade balance:

year 2012

Rank



Commodity description



Trade balance (billion $)



1

Footwear, outer soles and uppers of leather, nes

2.65

2

Handbags with outer surface of leather

2.54

3

Packing or wrapping machinery nes

2.40

4

Uncooked pasta, not stuffed or prepared, without eggs

1.85

5

Sunglasses

1.83

6

Bovine and equine leather, full or split grain, nes

1.75

7

Parts of wash, filling, closing, aerating machinery

1.39

8

Helicopters of an unladen weight >2000 kg

1.36

9

Pipes and tubing, stainless steel, welded

1.11

10

Hollow profiles/tubes, iron/steel, non-circular, welded

1.08

11

Chocolate/cocoa food preparations nes

1.01

12

Tomatoes, whole/pieces, prepared/preserved, no vinegar

1.00

13

Pumps nes

0.97

14

Pipes etc. nes, iron/steel welded nes, diameter <406.4 mm 0.95

15

Bovine and equine leather, nes

0.92

16

Apples, fresh

0.91

17

Refrigerator/freezer chests/cabinets/showcases

0.85

18

Commercial equipment, hot drinks/cooking/heating food

0.75

19

Articles, iron or steel nes, forged/stamped, nfw

0.72

20

Bakery and pasta making machinery

0.71

Index of Italy’s competitive excellence in world trade; Fortis-Corradini’s Index © (case study of a

total sample of 5117 products that comprise international trade)

Source Compiled by Fondazione Edison using data Istat, Eurostat and UN Comtrade



16



M. Fortis et al.



For many of the products in which Italy holds leading positions by trade balance

(Table 1.12 statistical appendix) Italy positions itself at the highest level of

value-added, a level where emerging market manufacturers like China struggle to

reach and where the distinctive features of made in Italy in terms of quality, design,

innovation and customer service continue to make the difference. For footwear and

leather boots, for example, Italy is the uncontested leader in global exports ahead of

Spain and Portugal, since Chinese producers face technical difficulties (leather sole

processing) and price obstacles (the cost of the leather) in producing this type of

footwear. The same goes for other fashion products that require special attention as

far as choice of raw materials, design and manufacturing such as the combination of

textile materials for men and women and women’s wool suits. Also for

non-electronic mechanical engineering, from industrial machinery to packing

machinery, Chinese competition is undoubtedly growing in the lower value-added

segments but it then runs into difficulty with higher quality, more technologically

complex products, where Italy remains the world leader.



1.3.3



Products in Which Italy Holds Second Place

in the World by Trade Surplus



We should not forget Italy’s second place products by trade surplus worldwide

(Table 1.7), which are often actually in positions of authentic co-leadership rather

than subordinate ones. Italy’s second most important product category in terms of

trade balance is taps, cocks and valves (4.9 billion dollars), a sector whose strength

lies in the dynamism of numerous medium- and medium-large companies in two

important regional clusters: Lago d’Orta-Valsesia in Piedmont and

Lumezzane-Brescia in the province of Brescia. This is followed by the export of the

wine and sparkling wine industry (4.5 billion dollars) in which Italy is preceded

only by France. Next are two furniture categories, wooden furniture and furniture

parts, followed in the ranking by iron and steel works, agricultural tractors, ceramic

flags and tiles, parts of gas turbine engines, machinery to fill, close, label and aerate

bottles and containers, aluminum parts, parts of machines and mechanical appliances, motorboats and yachts.

Other important second place products for Italy’s international trade balance

which are not found in Table 1.7 (Table 1.13 statistical appendix) include extra

virgin olive oil, light fixtures, chairs and easy chairs, and polished granite. Other

significant products to note are various plastic goods (from ethylene pipes to plastic

bathtubs and showers), numerous types of fabrics and garments, metallurgical

products, equipment and machinery.



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